Forget Subway’s Tunagate ... It’s time for Starbuck’s Fruitgate! New lawsuit says chain's fruit drinks lack fruit.
· Sep 20, 2023 ·

Remember Tunagate? The lawsuit that alleged Subway's tuna sandwiches didn't have any real tunafish in them?

Well, now Starbucks has found itself in a similar situation with its fruit drinks.

One consumer complained that the drink company's popular fruit drinks do not contain any of the fruits the drinks are named after:

"Mango Dragonfruit, Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, Pineapple Passionfruit, Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade, Strawberry Açai and Strawberry Açai Lemonade Refreshers contained none of the advertised mango, passion fruit or açai."

Unlike Subway's Tunagate, which was dismissed with prejudice when the plaintiff bailed on the case, like an impatient fisher on the open sea, Fruitgate might have some merit.

Starbuck's says it shouldn't matter if their fruit drinks have any of the above mentioned fruits in them.

They have grape juice, artificial flavors, and a whole ton of sugar that make their drinks taste like those fruits. They offered the example of vanilla, which is commonly included in descriptions of products though only its flavor is present.

Starbuck‘s asked for a dismissal of the case on those grounds.

The judge disagreed and ruled that the fruit flavors under review are not as ubiquitous as vanilla:

Nothing before the court indicates that 'mango,' 'passionfruit,' and 'açaí' are terms that typically are understood to represent a flavor without also representing that ingredient.

And the judge also pointed out that consumers could be confused by the names because Starbuck's other drinks contain their ingredients.

Ice Matcha Tea Latte contains matcha and Honey Citrus Mint Tea contains honey and mint.

The plaintiff's lawyer was ecstatic and looked forward to representing the $5-million class action in court.

As for me, well, I never did like those floofy drinks anyway.

I take my coffee with a touch of cream no sugar, thanks.

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